Police are warning residents of an aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers.
The scam has been making the rounds throughout the country and recently calls have been reported in the city of Waupaca.
According to Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel, with the Waupaca Police Department, callers claiming to be employees of the Internal Revenue Service are using threats to scam money.
“These con artists can sound convincing when they call,” Hoelzel said. “They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.”
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.
If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
In a similar scam, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.
If the phone isn’t answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.
Hoelzel said the IRS does not call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill.
The IRS does not demand payment of past due taxes without first giving a taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount the IRS says they owe.
The IRS does not require the use of a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card, or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
“The IRS does not threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying,” Hoelzel said.
More information on scams can be found at www.irs.gov on the bottom of their web page under Get Important Info.